FARNBOROUGH 2002 AIR SHOW, FARNBOROUGH, U.K., July 22, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Mechanics may no longer have to open as many sections of aircraft to search for corrosion if they use a new technology being developed by a Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)-led team.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded a $1.65 million, three-year contract to the company's Integrated Systems sector to develop the Wide Area Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) imaging technology.

"We believe that this technology could eliminate two weeks of cycle time and labor associated with the paint removal process," said Robert Klein, vice president, Engineering, Logistics and Technology, Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare (AEW&EW) Systems. "It is an expansion of the thermographic NDI technology we are already applying at St. Augustine, Fla., and we appreciate the partnership with the Office of Naval Research."

This is part of ONR's Aircraft Corrosion Prevention and Control Technology thrust under the Total Ownership Cost Future Naval Capability program. It will combine multiple methods for wide-area nondestructive inspection of aircraft into a single measurement system. Integrated Systems' AEW&EW Systems business area has been developing this imaging technology to scan rapidly painted structures for surface and subsurface corrosion.

The research further extends the work carried out under another contract for the multiagency Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program to image surface corrosion under paint. Integrated Systems is working with Thermal Wave Imaging, Inc., a leading supplier of active thermography inspection systems, and with Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md.

The new contract will facilitate advances in this technology. The combined imaging technique will allow the inspector to rapidly characterize large aircraft parts quantitatively in a single session, and easily document the results for comparison with future inspections. This system will be tested and evaluated on aircraft at Northrop Grumman's St. Augustine site. In the final phase, this contract will transition to one or more Naval Aviation depots.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. Integrated Systems has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management, early warning, airborne electronic warfare and air combat aircraft. It is also integrating these capabilities for emerging network-centric warfare concepts.

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  CONTACT:  
U.S. Contacts:  John A. Vosilla (516) 575-5119
                Dr. Airan Perez, ONR (703) 696-0845
Farnborough Air Show Contact:  James Stratford 011 44 1252 381 892